Shell subsidiary that makes bio-diesel in Brazil has dropped controversial plans to buy sugar cane grown on land taken from indigenous people, according to Survival International.
The company, Raizen, was set up in 2010 by Shell and Brazil's bio-fuels giant Cosan to make bio-fuel from sugar cane -- an endeavour that had been criticized by indigenous groups who say their ancestral lands have been tainted.
Raizen has now signed an agreement with the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) promising to stop buying sugar cane grown on Guarani territory in the southern state of Mato Grosso do Sul, according to Survival, an NGO that works to defend tribal peoples.
Many Guarani people had been driven off their land, left to camp along roadsides. They also complained that rivers on their traditional lands were being polluted with pesticides.
Other companies must follow Raizen's example, and stop bankrolling the theft of Guarani land. It's time the world woke up to the fact that Brazil's biofuel is tainted with Indian blood, Survival director Stephen Corry said on Wednesday.
But it warned that the tribe's future continued to be threatened by illegal logging and farming on their lands. The tribe's leader, Nisio Gomes, 59, has been missing since November.
His community says he was shot dead by masked men in front of them. Brazilian police say the case is unclear and the body has not yet been found.
Valdelice Veron, an indigenous Guarani in Mato Grosso do Sul state, says their rivers have been polluted by pesticides. We will be able to drink water from our land again. We will be able to start afresh, she told Survival International.
The announcement came as officials opened the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, launching a new round of debate on the future of the planet, its resources and people, 20 years after the first Earth Summit.